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McDonald’s Making More Changes To Happy Meals

July 26, 2011

McDonald’s announced on Tuesday that it will begin serving a fruit or vegetable with every Happy Meal sold in the U.S.

Jan Fields, president of McDonald’s, announced on ABC’s Good Morning America that the fast-food chain restaurant will be offering fruit to each child that comes into a McDonald’s restaurant.

McDonald’s received praise from First Lady Michelle Obama for adding more fruit and reducing the amount of fries in its Happy Meals.

“McDonald’s has continued to evolve its menu, and I look forward to hearing about the progress of today’s commitments, as well as efforts in the years to come,” she said in a statement.

The first lady has become a national advocate for healthy eating and brought the fight against childhood obesity to the White House.

McDonald’s has found its share of criticism by Congress, local governments and the private sector for the nutritional quality for its food and its marketing to children.

“Now is a great time for us to be able to do something like this,” Fields said on ABC’s Good Morning America. “We think both parents and children are going to absolutely love the changes that we’re making.”

The changes at the chain will take effect in September in some markets and then roll out to all 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. by April 2012.

The new french fry holders in Happy Meals will contain 1.1 ounces of potatoes, which is down from 2.4.  Apple slices will be included as the healthful side dish, but it could also be carrots, raisins, pineapple slices or mandarin oranges.

McDonald’s said the new meals will represent a 20 percent decrease in calories on average.

San Francisco tried to ban toys with meals at fast food restaurants if the meals did not meet certain nutritional criteria last year.

“We know we’re a leader and we know we need to be part of the solution,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Danya Proud told LA Times. “But we can’t be looked at as providing the only solution.”

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